The peace grotto
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The peace grotto can be found underneath the arch under the staircase in the Baroque church of St. Ruprecht. It was created in 2004 after the well-known woodcarver Hans Pendl went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina where he decided not to buy any stone statues as a memento, but instead carve a life-size wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. And, for all that have already seen the original, it’s definitely an impressive work of art! The sculpture he created depicts a cohesive unit and symbolises the eternal cycle of life. The image of Mary Mother of God extending an inviting hand and smiling a kind-hearted smile is everywhere - giving blessings, making intercessions to God and providing protection and security. Embedded in the heart of this masterpiece is the 11th Station of the Cross from Medjugorje. It came into Hans Pendl’s possession after the 14 old stations of the cross were replaced on Cross Mountain in Medjugorje. He immediately recognised the spiritual meaning of the cross and spontaneously decided to make something out of it that would benefit the whole parish. So, he incorporated the cross and the statue, which he had carved as a gift to the parish, into one piece of art.
And the sculpture was given a permanent home in the grotto, which was created underneath the staircase of the parish church. The mystical flickering of the candles, soft electrical lighting and quiet, calming music enable visitors to engage in contemplation and prayer. Locks can actually be fitted to the entrance of the Peace grotto. These locks are engraved with dates that mark significant times in visitors’ lives (e.g. wedding day, birth of their child(ren) etc.).
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